PARANOIA: There are so many people out there telling actors, models, and entertainers shocking horror stories about agencies and managers and the like, that most models and talent are terrified, like most of the rest of the world about bad news, thinking that cons and sharks are around every corner just waiting to screw them over. While there are many scams, not all are.
Give who you are meeting the benefit of the doubt. If you would not tell a potential employer you are scared of them doing something you don’t like, don’t tell an agent or manager. Keep your paranoia to yourself. It will not help you to express it. If you are too paranoid of the industry, stay out of it. If you feel too scared to sign and don’t trust who you meet, then go with your gut instinct and don’t. If you feel it’s all good, then take the plunge after thoughtful examination.
SCHOOLS: You do not need to go to school to be a model or a musician, though it does help for bands or musicians to know music theory and songwriting. Models should not waste money on modeling schools, and instead, invest in being grounded and professional. Actors need training in the technique of acting, and any person pursuing entertainment should take classes in business and marketing, as every entertainer is in business for themselves, and must market themselves until they get a team to do it for them.
The best acting schools will teach the three year program of Stanislavski, which is the foundation of all acting. All methods derived from this style. There are no shortcuts to the three years. There are few great schools out there, with many trying to make up their own style, which generally produce few stars. Find the most respected actors on the planet, and you will find that most of them studied Shakespeare and Stanislavski.
Some acting and music conservatories make their students sign a contract that actually forbids their students from signing with an agent or manager. The reason for this, is that they fear that if that students signs with representation and gets work, they will feel that they no longer need the school, and then decide to quit, losing the school business and money. Why would anyone in their right mind sign a contract stopping their opportunities for one to three years? That is insanity. I am all for great training, but remember, standards for acting ability are at an all time low. If you can make money at your craft while training, why not do it?
AGENTS & MANAGERS: The best way to get an agent or manager is to meet them in a more social setting, at one of the hot spots that they go to. If you “do lunch” as they say in this business, you can often meet some of the people you need that are essential to your career, in a more casual setting, rather than having to try get past the gatekeeper, or a rude secretary or assistant. Most of my business partnerships were created by a meeting that started face to face. Two meetings I had in two different nightclubs for example, led me to over 50 or more other business contacts, where deals are still happening. In this business, it’s all about the lunch. After you establish a professional connection, get the business card, and do a meeting in the office.
PUBLICITY: Any great manager or agent will instruct their clients on how to get publicity, which is a must for anyone to become a star. Publicists specialize in this, and today, it is very easy to do a worldwide publicity campaign for yourself, for virtually nothing, online, until you can afford to pay for a publicist to be added to your team.
ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: Most artists do not need entertainment attorneys until they are more established in their career, or have a big offer. Eventually however, if you succeed greatly, you will need an entertainment attorney.
PERSONAL MANAGER: I am more and more a fan of personal managers, and life coaches for my clients. The entertainment industry can be very overwhelming, and sometimes it is a challenge just to face the next day when that next multi-million dollar deal that could have made you an overnight star fell through. It can be a roller coaster of the greatest highs, and the lowest lows, and it is essential to have a team around you that is supportive, grounded, and will see you through, when times are great, and when they are tough. A great talent manager will help an artist build their entire team of all of the above.
Don’t miss more advice back here in the next issue, and be sure to check out more free advice in the archives in our back issues if you have not.
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